All societies have an elite. The question is whether it will serve the republic or itself. John Adams – our second president and one of America’s greatest political theorists – thought the solution to that problem was a well created and managed Senate. The elite should be in power, on stage, and also checked and balanced by the rest of the government. Today, however, the most powerful Americans are not men like Daniel Webster, Henry Clay, and John C. Calhoun, they are, on the contrary, men and women outside the political process who seek influence or power without accountability. The result is tearing us apart. The challenge we face today is the one Adams recognized and described: how to bring our elites into the political system, and, at the same time, to ensure that they can only serve their ambition by serving the people.
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